To help improve farmers’ competitiveness, we have created a clear set of measures and targets so they can benchmark their performance and identify areas for improvement.
Our new performance indicators reveal that dairy farmers should be aiming to achieve a full economic cost of production between 22 pence per litre and 25ppl.
The measures build upon our optimal dairy systems approach, which suggests farmers should focus on one of two production systems – all year round, or block calving (spring or autumn).
When we started looking at the range of potential measures we came across over 70 performance measures so it’s little wonder farmers are confused. Working with farmers and others from across the industry we’ve identified the key areas everyone should focus upon.
The measures are broken down into two areas. The first set are ‘enterprise key performance indicators’ which highlight the six key areas for both all year round and block calving systems that are crucial to delivering the financial performance required.
The second set of measures focuses on the three key financial measures that every business should know, understand and benchmark their performance against, including full economic costs of production.
As well as providing definitions, AHDB is sharing what good, average and poor operators are currently achieving by analysing industry data from the top and bottom 25 per cent and average performers.
One of the key measure for block calvers is ‘cows calved within the first six weeks’ and we know that the top 25 per cent of farmers are getting this above 90 per cent. For all year round calvers, pregnancy rate is more relevant and the top operators are achieving over 20 per cent.
Farmers can also enter their own figures into the online calculator to benchmark their performance and highlight focus areas.
The measures will be built into the programme for the next wave of strategic dairy farms which are currently being recruited to complement the existing farm at Oadby in Leicestershire.
It is now more important than ever that dairy farmers do everything they can to get in good shape to deal with future challenges. By giving farmers a clear set of measures and targets, they can review their performance and make changes to enable them to compete in this rapidly changing world.
A full set of definitions along with guidance about how to calculate each measure can be found on our website.
Alongside the calculator where you can enter performance and financial figures to see how you benchmark with others. Find these at dairy.ahdb.org.uk/optimal-dairy-systems/key-performance-indicators
Mark Topliff, AHDB Lead Analyst
By: Toby Neal